Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, announced at an event on Thursday that 20 people in his state had been charged with voter fraud. The event was billed as a “major announcement” on upholding election integrity laws.
These 20 people, mainly from Democratic strongholds like Broward County and the Orlando area, were arrested for illegal voting in the 2020 election. The Governor had cited each of these people as examples of voter fraud he campaigned to stamp out.
These people voted in 2020 despite being prohibited from voting due to convictions of murder or sexual assault. According to Florida’s law, this fraud is a third-degree felony, and those convicted of it could face a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years behind bars.
Under the state’s law, people convicted of murder or sexual assault are disenfranchised from voting unless they adhere to the proper restoration process, which the 20 people who face charges failed to do.
DeSantis said, “Some people say there’s no voter fraud. That never happens. This is a third-degree felony in the state of Florida, they could face a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison for illegally voting in our elections.“
"*" indicates required fields
The Governor added, “They did not go through any process, they did not get their rights restored. Yet, they went ahead and voted anyways. That is against the law, and now they’re going to pay the price for it.“
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) holds a presser in a courthouse to announce Florida “is in the process of arresting 20 individuals … for voter fraud”:
“The majority of these people … are disqualified from voting because they’ve been convicted of either murder or sexual assault.” pic.twitter.com/5a2ClQUDH4
— The Recount (@therecount) August 18, 2022
The Governor announced his intent to ensure that other people who have committed voter fraud would also be apprehended and face the wrath of the law. DeSantis also revealed that 67 supervisors of elections are being ordered to preserve documents on the 2020 election.
This new election security office was set up in July, and these arrests were their first. DeSantis added that there would be more arrests in the coming week and hoped that not many cases need to be prosecuted for 2022.
He added, “Now this is only one class of voters that we know have violated the law. There are investigations ongoing into people that have voted in two different jurisdictions, and I imagine you are going to see prosecutions on that. We also have folks who are voting who are illegal aliens.“
At Thursday’s press conference, Peter Antonacci, director of the Office of Election Crimes and Security, said, “And you may think that 20 voters is not a lot, but you’re in Broward County, and you know that you just elected a person to Congress this year by five votes.”
The Attorney General’s office said names and other details of those arrested Thursday would be released as soon as office staff verified that the paperwork was correct. Since the new office handled the cases, the AG’s office and a statewide prosecutor will be responsible for charging the arrested people and taking them to trial.